My friends and I just had a head-to-head taste-off between two bottles of classic Champagne from France and two bottles of sparkling wine from – of all places – Tasmania. You heard right! I am talking about the Tasmania that sits south of Australia where the infamous Tasmanian Devil comes from.
Who possessed us to do this type of comparison? Well, my partner in crime, but of course! While in Australia for work, he decided to hop over to Tasmania for a weekend and check it out. He stumbled upon some fabulous wine. Their Pinot Noir is fantastic and these sparklers are too. They just don’t have wide distribution making it tough to get your hands on.
As you can see from these pictures, we conducted the tasting in a park. We were trying to be good social distancers while still connecting with our friends. Life does go on after all!
Two Tasmanian Sparkling Wines – The Underdog ..er UnderDevil?
For the tasting, we started out with JANSZ a sparkling wine from Tasmania. This one is made of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. It’s a nice refreshing sparkler that was quickly labeled by our French Champagne loving friends as a good pizza wine. It’s a solid sparkler, but not quite as refined as the other three bottles we tasted.
On to the second sparkling wine from Tasmania. Stefano Lubiana Brut Reserve has 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. It’s made in the traditional Champagne method which means the wine goes through two fermentation cycles. The first fermentation is prior to bottling, the second happens after bottling and creates the C02 which is trapped as bubbles.
We could tell the difference between these first two right away. The second one had finer bubbles and a more refined taste to it. Definitely elevated.
Two French Champagnes – Traditional Royalty
Now onto the French Champagne. The first one we tasted was Thiénot Brut which is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Munier – the traditional grapes used in Champagne.
This one had a heavier, fuller feel with those refined bubbles. It’s definitely a dry champagne with lively acidity along with ripe apple and pear notes.
The last bottle was a French Rosé Champagne. Jacquart Mosaïque Rosé is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Munier. About 15-18% of the Pinot Noir is added as red wine to give it that beautiful salmon color. It’s a full, rich Champagne with cherry and strawberry notes.
Winner: UnderDevil or Royalty?
In the end, we tipped our hats to the efforts being made in Tasmania. The first, Jansz, is a solid sparkler that can actually be found in the States. The second, Stefano Lubiana, is definitely more refined in taste and texture, holding its own next to the Champagne. The Thiénot Brut is a classic example of a French Champagne with all the refinements and balance you would expect. The Jacquart is an enjoyable Rosé Champagne that’s perfect for a summer evening.
Line up based on refinement, flavor, and enjoyability – 1) Thiénot Brut, 2) Stefano Lubiana, 3) Jacquart Mosaïque Rosé and 4) Jansz.
Set up your own tasting. Pit region against region and taste the difference. Vive la Difference! Cheers mate!